In 2020, the humanitarian situation of Venezuelans who left their country in search of a better life elsewhere in Latin America and the Caribbean has significantly deteriorated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Venezuelans are experiencing xenophobia, evictions, deportations, gender-based violence, and multiple forms of exploitation. Children are particularly vulnerable as their young lives are uprooted and they are forced to adjust to a new reality in a different country and culture.
To build the foundation for empathy and greater understanding between host and migrant communities in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) produced “A Story of Hope,” a children’s illustration book that tells the story of Venezuelan migration through the experience of Gabriela and her mother. The book is tailored to young readers and introduces the topic of migration with hopes of generating positive conversations in safe spaces where children learn, as well as within their homes.
The bilingual children’s book was illustrated by Brianna McCarthy and written by performance poet Derron Sandy. The book includes coloring pages by Neera Abigail Carrizales Ramroop.
Download “A Story of Hope” in PDF format (Trinidad & Tobago):
Download “A Story of Hope” in PDF format (Guyana):
Introduction from PADF Executive Director Katie Taylor:
A Story of Hope Read Aloud:
The Guyana “A Story of Hope” distribution bus provides a unique opportunity to connect with children in migrant communities by spreading cheer and sparking positive conversation around migration. The distribution bus makes weekend stops in known migrant communities throughout Guyana. Both host community and migrant children benefit from personal protective items such as face masks and hand sanitizer, crayons, a copy of the bilingual storybook, and a tote.
Thanks to our partnership with the Roman Catholic Bishop of Guyana (RCBG), the bus took its first ride in March 2021. The bus aims to reach approximately 700 children. These photographs were taken in Tuschen, Zeelugt, and Cornelia Ida in the Essequibo Islands-West Demerara.